The Night Shift

[p] - Percy

POSTED: Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:37 pm

Bramble scratched his head, his ears flicking as a stray finger got too close. It had been a busy day, it felt that every day was a busy day since their home had, quite literally, gone up in smoke. The Parhelion had never been one to shirk a chore though and he knew that now, more than ever, his family needed him, so Bramble had thrown himself into the work of taking care of things. He had hunted, cooked and gathered wood for fires, despite what some may feel about it, they needed to stay warm. Now everyone was asleep and there was nothing to do, but even then Bramble had volunteered to take a watch. Of course, the quiet meant he got to think. Oddly the pictures that swam into his head weren’t the ones of his home, but of shadowy branches, reaching across the sky, just like the night, when he’d been small and found himself outside in the cold and alone, calling out for his dad. Bramble knew he was too old to call out now, but his heart ached like it had never done before. While he was very careful to make sure that he still smiled and joked with everyone, he felt his dad’s absence sharply.

Taking a quick look over his shoulder, he moved a little further away from the slumbering forms and the crackling fire. He didn’t want to disturb their sleep, and the firelight would do nothing for his night vision. Leaning against a tree, and finally out of sight of his small clan, Bramble felt his ears droop, even his folded ear, ever indominable, seemed to slump.

”Well here we are.” He said softly to himself.

He could feel the tree’s uneven bark against his pelt. It grounded him somehow, but it couldn’t stop the reveries that began to creep in during the quiet night. His birthplace, his home and whole world had been destroyed. Everything that they’d worked for, everything that had been theirs, snatched away, and why? Bramble still wasn’t sure. All the time’s he’d laughed had been in Krokar, all the hugs and training, had been in Krokar. Of course, he’d climbed mountains and been on day trips out of his home, but the pack lands had always been there, reassuring, a place his compass always pointed. Now where should it point? Yes he had family here, but it was incomplete, missing pieces in the jigsaw of his heart. He raised his hand to his face and covered his eyes, trying to push out all of these mental images, but they kept flickering by, touching a very raw and painful wound that work helped him to ignore. Bramble made a stifled gulp before straightening and taking a deep breath, pushing it down and making sure he was still the easy going constant in their group, watching out for his family.
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Luperci

POSTED: Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:35 pm

Sleep eluded him like prey and Percival resolved himself to another long and sleepless night. Looking up at the stars, their bright light winking back at him, he thought of an evening, not terribly long ago, he had spent with his cousin, Oscar, and felt that familiar gnawing ache of his heart.

Rolling over onto his side, Percy thought bitterly that not even the good memories were welcome ones.

Glaring into the darkness, a figure shifted and rose and crept away from their camp. The youth's eyes were drawn to it and, buzzing within his head, curiosity took hold. Frozen against the warm, solid back of his ox, Pim, Percival watched the figure slip out out of the firelight's golden embrace and into the horrible shadows around them, thinking that he needed just to sleep and let the others do what they needed to.

But there was no sleeping tonight, not while his mind was alert and his memories kept on spinning. So Percival stirred and rolled himself onto a hip, then gently rose to his feet. Pim lifted his head and emitted a muted sound. "Shhh," he responded, rolling his hand down the ox's thick neck. "It's okay, Pim. Betsy is here. I'll be right back." Whether or not the gentle beast understood him, Pim seemed soothed by the boy's touch and, after a short time, Percival tiptoed away from camp to follow after his brother.

It wasn't hard to find him – they were few and their camp was small — but Percy didn't expect what he saw.

"Bramble?" he whispered harshly into the silent night. "What're ya doin'?"

OOC: Bramble.... ;____;

[WC — 277]

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timshel

POSTED: Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:37 pm

Was this what it felt like to be a loner? Never having a place to belong? Never having a home? There would be those that would doubtless think Bramble lucky and see his sadness as unreasonable, at least he had experienced it. Perhaps they’d be right, but having known it, the pain was really quite exquisite when it is ripped away.

The Parhelion with the mismatched eyes heard the rustle behind him just in time to compose himself. Looking over he heard his younger brother’s voice before he saw Percy’s gentle nutmeg eyes. Bramble’s smile was easy, genuine and only slightly wistful.

”Hi Perc.” His voice was quiet, despite being so far from the slumbering family, the night seemed to demand a lower volume. ”Thought I’d do a little guard duty, I was awake, so might as well be doing something useful.” Besides, Bramble thought, anything that kept him from lying in the gloom and thinking about what had happened had to be good. Bramble stopped leaning against the tree and gently nudging his brother’s arm. Percy had adopted clothing, something that Bramble rarely wore, except perhaps wraps around his hands and feet, finding the cold never got that bad. The Parhelion wit the mismatched eyes took a deep breath, Percy’s scent, a mixture of his Ox’s, the remnants of Krokar and family in general, filling his muzzle, along with all the other scents of the surrounding area.

”What’re you doing up? You’ll never grow big and strong if you don’t get a good night’s sleep?”

Despite Bramble’s gentle teasing, he was glad to have his younger brother here, but something was different. That transparent barrier still stayed in place, and Bramble felt, not distant, but not quite able to reach out and really touch his family. As though the loss of home and dad had slotted something out of place. Still, Bramble did his best not to dwell on it, there was wood that needed gathering, food that needed hunting and family that needed guarding. The wonderful thing about work was, there was always more of it and Bramble, if he wasn’t climbing, was always doing it, never standing still and never without a quip or quick retort. Bramble would pull his family through this, he was determined to do that, and perhaps he’d manage to drag himself along as well.
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